Nets GM impressed with Corey Fisher

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Corey Fisher doesn't know what went wrong toward the end of the Villanova basketball season, when the Wildcats went from being one of the nation's top teams to a Big East also-ran in a matter of weeks.

"I know people expected us to win a lot because we are Villanova," Fisher said after a pre-draft workout Tuesday with the New Jersey Nets. "The last few weeks of the season, nothing went right. I wasn't healthy. I had tendinitis in my knee, nothing serious, but I played through that. We just didn't play as well as expected."

Fisher, the Wildcats' leading scorer last season with a 15.6 points average, has put that behind him and is hoping his future includes a job in the NBA.

He was one of six prospective draft picks to work out for the Nets. It was his seventh workout and the New York City native has five more left before the draft on June 23.

"I have to prove that I have what it takes to be an NBA player," said Fisher, who is listed a 6-foot-1 but might not be that tall. "Like everyone else here, I'm chasing the dream. Since I'm a real small guard, I have to work harder than anyone else. I just have to bring it at each one of these workouts. I have to prove myself everyday."

Fisher said that he had a chance to enter the NBA draft after his junior year at Villanova, but decided to return to get his degree and enhance his chances in this year's draft.

"I think everyone knows what I can do," said Fisher, who averaged 12.1 points and 3.5 assists in his college career. "I played for four years there and everyone has seen me play. I did what I had to do every day."

Nets general manager Billy King was impressed with Fisher.

"Corey had a great career and knows how to play," said King, who saw Fisher play regularly when he was the general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers. "He's a tough kid who knows how to compete. He definitely has the body to play in the NBA. Physically, his size won't hurt him. I just wanted to see if he could compete and he can."

The Nets worked out Fisher along with Villanova teammate Antonio Pena, Georgia Tech shooting guard Iman Shumpert, Kentucky swingman DeAndre Liggins, forward Alex Tyus of Florida and Xavier Silas of Northern Illinois.

"This was a good workout," King said. "The guys were athletic and they competed defensively. I think these are guys who are in our draft range. I liked the way they competed, the way they listened and learned. What they do on the court is just a small part of what we are looking for when we draft."

Fisher, who played his high school basketball at nearby St. Patrick of Elizabeth, knows what the pre-draft process is all about. Former teammate and Big East Player of the Year Scottie Reynolds attended nearly a dozen pre-draft workouts a year ago and was neither drafted nor signed as a free agent by the NBA.

"I think Scottie and I are different players, but I definitely learned a lot from him, as I'm doing the same thing," Fisher said. "I talked to Scottie about going through the process. He just told me to go out and compete. I'm not worried about the same thing happening to me. I just go from one workout and keep a level head about it. I have spoken to Scottie, some of my other teammates and other people about what it takes. Anything can happen."

When Liggins was last in New Jersey, he helped Kentucky win the NCAA East Regional title.

"We worked out here (at the Nets' facility) before we played in the NCAA," Liggins said. "This is my third time here. I feel at home here. We definitely did something special in this state. I will always have good memories here."

Shumpert was attending his eighth workout and has a couple more to go.

"Going from city to city can be rough, but it's all basketball," said Shumpert, who averaged 20.4 points last season. "I got to meet (Nets coach) Avery Johnson today. Yesterday, it was (Indiana Pacers president) Larry Bird. It's a privilege for me. I know a lot of guys would want to be in my shoes. I'm living in the moment right now."